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First-Year Autism Clues

Research has begun to reveal hints of autism practically from birth (one recent study connected the rare developmental disorder to flawed cells in the mother's placenta). Watch for these first-year warning signs, from Laurie LeComer, M.Ed., author of A Parent's Guide to Developmental Delays, and discuss your observations with your doctor.

Birth to 2 months

  • Your baby doesn't wake himself up from sleeping to feed.
  • He doesn't look around at people or objects in the environment.
  • He gazes at your mouth or chin rather than at your eyes.
  • He's unusually quiet or cries excessively for no apparent reason.

3 to 5 months

  • Your baby avoids eye contact.
  • He doesn't imitate sounds (by 5 months).

6 months

  • Your baby isn't laughing.

9 to 12 months

  • Your baby doesn't show clear signs of an attachment to a favored adult or caregiver.
  • He doesn't respond to his name when called.
  • He's not babbling.